#27: Radical Acceptance During a Pandemic

#27: Radical Acceptance During a Pandemic

Today’s show revisits Radical Acceptance in the face of a global pandemic. Marielle and Ed discuss how they are using this skill (or not using it!) during this time.

Ed is using Radical Acceptance a lot lately, as he feels like it is often the only thing to do in this situation. Marielle shares her resistance to using Radical Acceptance during this time, and the ways she works with fear of strong emotions if she radically accepts what’s happening in the world.

Unlike other more action-oriented skills in DBT, Radical Acceptance is more of a frame of mind, or a turning toward (rather than away from) what’s actually happening in any given moment. 

When we can fully and deeply accept reality, painful emotions may arise. But, if we allow them to move through, often there is a sense of peace on the other side. Plus, it’s much harder to take skillful action toward change if we are denying the facts of what is happening.

So much has changed in a few months and the future is uncertain. Loss of all kinds is happening around us and to us. Listen in to learn how the skill of Radical Acceptance can help.

Show Highlights

  • Radical Acceptance is a DBT Distress Tolerance skill that is used when there is some reality we don’t like or don’t want
  • Remember that the intensity of your emotions will ebb and flow
  • Most of us are facing sickness and death, loss of jobs, change of routines, and profound uncertainty about the future
  • New stressors at home can make day to day life more challenging 
  • There is a difference between acceptance and Radical Acceptance. Acceptance is acknowledging what is happening. Radical Acceptance is accepting all the way, from the depth of your being
  • Naming emotions is a powerful way to help you feel some mastery over them
  • Fear of feeling strong emotions is often a barrier to radically accepting something
  • A sense of peace or contentment often arises when we radically accept and let our emotions move through us
  • We are in the process of coming to terms with the limits of our control over our lives
  • You may need more support during this time because you may not be able to find your way out on your own
  • Your life experiences will color how you respond to this current crisis
  • The idea that others have it much worse can serve to invalidate our own suffering. Radical Acceptance allows us to acknowledge our own pain and struggles
  • Radical Acceptance does not equal approval
  • Radical Acceptance is in favor of change, but change in the service of what’s really happening
  • Radical Acceptance is the precursor to skillful, lasting change

Links & Resources

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition

The Skillful Podcast Episode #11: Radical Acceptance

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Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.